FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT THE SEMINARY
What is seminary life like?
Seminary life is a life of community. Men who are thinking about becoming priests gather together at the seminary to learn more about their vocation. The process of discernment is a combination of academic study, Daily Mass and prayer, service, and community life. The seminary allows young men to strengthen their faith, become more aware of God in their lives’, and better understand God’s plan for them.
How will I know if I am being called?
The spiritual journey that determines God’s plan for you is a very personal journey. We come to know our vocation by coming to know God. God is the source of everything. He is our creator and He is the one who gives our life direction. Therefore, it is important when discerning your vocation that you come to know the Lord. Begin to strengthen your relationship with God through prayer. Through prayer you will share everything with God, your ideas, thoughts, concerns, and circumstances. He will show you the way through consolations of the Holy Spirit.
You can take steps to better understand yourself by participating in parish events, talking to a priest, visiting the seminary or religious communities, or even something as simple as reading a book on vocations. As you take these steps, you begin the process of discerning your own spirit.
Am I permanently committing myself to becoming a priest by going to the seminary?
No. A seminarian is not committed to becoming a priest when he enters into the seminary. The seminary is intended to help young men explore the possibility of priesthood as a life choice. The program is designed to assist seminarians by setting the example of priesthood through experience, prayer, study, fraternity, celibacy, and community life in order to determine whether or not the seminarian feels called to the priesthood. Seminarians receive regular evaluations of their progress, which helps them make educated choices about the priesthood as a long-term life choice. If a seminarian chooses to leave the seminary, they may transfer to any college or university and have lost nothing, but their uncertainty about being a priest. The seminary offers an opportunity for young men to discover their own calling and how they are best suited to serve the Church, whether or not this is through the ministry of priesthood.
Do I have to be 100% sure I want to be a priest when I enter the seminary?
No. While a certain level of maturity should be met as well as sincerity in seeking God’s Will, the seminary is essentially a “full time” discernment to discover if God is indeed calling you to the priesthood. At different points of this discernment, a deeper sense of conviction and commitment will be expected, but the seminary is a period of self-discovery intended to strengthen your faith and generate awareness of God in your life. There are two basic levels of formation, philosophy and theology. In both cases, the seminary is not only a place of education and formation, but also a place for continued prayer and discernment.
I am currently in a relationship, but may feel the call to a Church vocation, what should I do?
This happens more often than you might think. It is important to be honest with your significant other about what you are discerning. Being in a relationship will not prevent a vocation director from meeting with you. It is encouraged that you speak to a priest or spiritual director in your area to learn more about the basics of discernment and reflect on the different vocation options that are available to you.
What do priests do?
The basic thrust of the ministry of a priest is to proclaim the Word of God. This can be achieved in many different ways. Priests spend much of their time in preparation for and in celebration of the sacraments (Eucharist, Reconciliation, Baptism, Funerals, Marriage, Sacrament of the Sick). Priests take care to set time aside each day for prayer. They visit the sick and work with various parish and community organizations. Priests are often involved in spiritual counselling or individual counselling (marriage problems, substance abuse problems, parent/teacher problems, etc.). A priest serves as the leader and father to his parish, assisting them in their social and spiritual concerns. Despite current misconceptions, priests must still find time for themselves─ time to rest and relax, time to spend with their families, and time to do the things that they enjoy: sports, hobbies, music, etc.
Are priests happy?
Most priests are very happy in their vocation. After all, a life of priesthood is a very rewarding life, both in this world and the next! In his book, “Why Priests Are Happy,” Monsignor Stephen Rossetti quotes a poll that was taken in the United States and revealed that 92 % of priests are happy in their vocation. This is the highest rate of satisfaction among any profession!
Why can’t priests get married?
Catholic priests make the decision to forgo marriage in order to be 100% devoted to Jesus Christ and His people. They imitate the celibacy of Jesus Christ, whose entire life was devoted to His priestly mission. Priests take on the role of Father to their parishioners and all of God’s children. The sacrifice of celibacy is a sign to the world that only Jesus can provide us with the happiness and peace that we all crave. For priests to give up something as important as marriage and family is a powerful symbol to other Christians that Jesus Christ is real and ever present in their lives. He is worth living for and sacrificing for. The sacrifice is not easy, but neither is marriage. It is important to remember that every vocation requires personal sacrifice and there is great joy when that sacrifice is made for Jesus Christ. Priests are blessed with the knowledge that they provide spiritual and emotional support for an entire parish community, God’s family.
Do priests get time off?
“The Lord took his apostles apart for some rest after they had worked very hard preaching and healing” (Mark 6: 31-3). Priests are people too and they work very hard in their ministry. They too need time to recharge and center themselves after a long week of preaching and healing. As a result, priests are given one day off every week and are allotted vacation time. In addition to time spent in personal prayer, many priests enjoy a variety of recreational activities on their days off. To find out more about “the lighter side of priests lives” visit our video section and watch priests enjoying their well-deserved holidays.
What is a vocation?
The word vocation is derived from the Latin word “vocare,” which means “to call.” Throughout history, God has called his people. God calls us all! He made us each with our very own, unique purpose. God has a plan for our lives and His plan is our vocation. For some, that vocation means marriage or single life, while for others their vocation lies in the priesthood or religious life. However, each of God’s children shares a vocation to live as He desires us to live, to be holy.
How do I know what my vocation is?
Determining one’s vocation is a process of personal and spiritual discovery. As we come to learn more about God, ourselves, and others, we reveal our true vocation. You can reach this level of self-awareness through prayer, the sacraments, and by living a good Christian life. Through our actions and a deeper understanding of God in our lives, we come to hear his call. We learn to hear his voice and to better understand what he is inviting us to do.
As we come to know ourselves─ our likes and our dislikes, our weaknesses and our strengths─ we also open a window into our hearts, a window that reveals our desires. A desire for a family may lead you to a vocation to Marriage. A desire for service and ministry may direct you to a vocation to Priesthood or Religious Life.
Ultimately, it is through growth in our relationships with other people that we discover our true vocation. People serve to help us see ourselves; they reveal our gifts and talents.
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